Despite health department layoffs last year, the City of Evanston still spends more than twice as much per person as the Village of Skokie does on health-related services.

Evanston has budgeted nearly $4.2 million for health services, compared to $1.7 million in Skokie

For this article top-line departmental spending and staffing figures have been adjusted to account for services provided by other departments in each community.

So, Skokie’s health department spending on animal control has been eliminated, because that service is provided by the police department in Evanston.

And human services, social work and subsidized transportation functions provided through the Skokie village manager’s office have been added to Skokie’s numbers because the equivalent services are provided by the health department in Evanston.

Roughly similar staffing

After laying off about 15 people last year, Evanston’s health department staffing is only marginally higher than Skokie’s on a per-capita basis.

Skokie has .29 health workers per 1,000 residents. Evanston has .33.

Evanston supports non-profits

The biggest difference in spending: Evanston doles out health-related grants of city funds to private social agencies, and Skokie does not.

Evanston is distributing $885,000 this year to 19 agencies in mental health program grants and  $86,900 in grants to four agencies for services to the homeless.

More spent on food inspections

Evanston spends more than twice as much on Food and Environmental health programs — $805,000 in Evanston, versus $323,000 in Skokie.

Evanston has a couple more environmental health workers, but Skokie actually reports conducting more food service inspections per year — 1,650 in Skokie, compared to 1,270 in Evanston.

Evanston does recover $162,000 of the cost of food service inspections in food establishment license fees, nearly four times as much as Skokie charges.

Dental program

Evanston is spending nearly $368,000 this year on a dental services program for children, which has no counterpart in Skokie.

A little over a third of the cost of that program is recouped from fees and reimbursements.

Health administration

General administrative costs for the health department are nearly twice as large in Evanston as in Skokie.

Skokie spends less than $234,000 to administer its health department and provide copies of birth and death records. The cost for the same programs in Evanston totals nearly $449,000.

Evanston’s vital records office is much busier than Skokie’s. Evanston’s health department says it records 4,630 births and 1,243 deaths a year, compared to 525 births and 950 deaths in Skokie.

Evanston collects $142,000 for issuing copies of vital records documents. Skokie collects a little under $53,000. Both governments say that revenue covers the cost of their vital records programs.

Transit economies

One area where Evanston appears to spend less than Skokie is on transit subsidies for senior citizens.

Evanston’s subsidized taxicab program is budgeted at $295,000. Skokie pays over $332,000 for it Senior Transit for Area Residents program operated by PACE.

Planned for increase

While most health department programs in Evanston aren’t scheduled to change much in their funding in the new fiscal year that starts in March, one exception is community relations.

Evanston now spends $587,000 on those services, compared to $476,000 spent on similar programs in Skokie.

But for fiscal year 2009-10, the proposed budget increases community relations spending in Evanston to $1,094,000.

The increase will more than double the staff, from 1.5 to 3.5 people, and also cover costs of operating a grant-funded lead-based paint abatement program.

Related story

Government costs more in Evanston

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

4 Comments

  1. City Budget
    Bill,

    Thanks again for the detailed analysis. I am doing the same work on the budget as you are. Glad to see my initial thoughts are being substantiated by you.

    Here are some additional things to contemplate:

    How does Skokie compare in the compensation of their Council? I pledge today that if elected I will not accept City Health Benefits. The $113,000 in the budget for the City Council should be eliminated. I do not believe it is fair for part time City Council members to be covered when other City part time workers are not.

    Let’s also take a hard look at Health Benefits for the City as a whole. They appear to be substantially greater than what I see in business. As a percentage of salaries, they are at least double.

    We must freeze salaries for Senior Management. If it’s OK for the Federal Government, it must be OK for us as well.

    My Company has budgeted 2%-3% salary increases this year, although we have also froze any increases during the first quarter. Thus the annual amount may be less. This will save substantial dollars.

    The Council also has a $40,000 Membership item in their budget. Seems extremely high in this economic environment.

    We must adopt a “No Add-to/Replace Staff” approach this year unless approved by Council.

    I have many more items, but ultimately I’d like the City to be at “No Property Tax Increase” this year.

    Bill, I will continue to delve into the detail, and look forward to seeing you Saturday morning for the next City Budget Review Meeting.

    Mark Sloane
    Candidate for Sixth Ward Alderman

  2. Thank you Mark – for pleding not to take Medical benefits!
    Mark – I can not vote for you since I live in the 7th ward – but I am glad to see you reconize the fact the health benefits for council members are just plain wrong and you are pledging not to take them!

  3. Mark – show us that you mean it
    Mark Sloane says:

    ” I pledge today that if elected I will not accept City Health Benefits.”

    OK, Mark. But this promise is meaningless if you are already covered by your day job, or by a spouse’s plan, or some other group or government coverage.

    If you are serious, then you need to promise to either go without health insurance for four years, or purchase it at the individual rate.

    I don’t care for our system of employer-sponsored health care, but as long as the country has it, then aldermen should be able to get group rates too.

    Keep the health insurance. Dump the branch libraries.

    1. Mr Who you do not get it – you have eaten too many Coca Puffs
      Who – no part time city employees get health insurance are you now proposing to cover all of them?

      The council members have created a special deal for themselves.

      OK – Who – let council members buy into the city plan – I am Ok with that – for full family coverage let them pay the $17,000 – versus the $444 the pay now for yearly coverage.

      What employee in a private plan pays $444 a year for a full PPO for their family? WHO you have any examples?

      The pay here is being set for council members for taking the job it has no relation on what other the job they might have!

      I would be quite certain – Mark pays alot more to take other coverage – so if he was elected he could drop his coverage and pick up the citys – which I have a feeling some current council members are doing.
      It appears they are almost all taking the coverage – clearly some of them have other means to get coverage thus they are ripping the taxpayers off.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.